Campus News

Two UGA students awarded 2011 NSEP David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for international study

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia sophomores Rosemary Gay of Douglasville and Neenah Williams of Morristown, Tenn. have been awarded National Security Education Program David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for international language study during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Gay, who is a graduate of Chapel Hill High School, is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in ecology, Romance languages (Spanish and Portuguese), and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Williams, who is a graduate of Morristown Hamblen High School West, is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Arabic and cognitive science (linguistics and philosophy focus).

“I am pleased that UGA students continue to be highly competitive for this prestigious award,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “I am very proud of Rosemary and Neenah, and I know that they will take full advantage of the immersive experiences that the Boren Scholarship offers.”

Now in its 20th year, the NSEP Boren Scholarship was established as part of the National Security Act that was written by current University of Oklahoma president David L. Boren. The scholarship program provides recipients with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of the U.S., in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government. Boren Scholars receive up to $10,000 for one semester or $20,000 for one academic year of study.

Gay will spend the fall semester studying Portuguese in Brazil at the Universidade Federal do Parana. She also will be enrolled in agronomy courses and involved in research focused on improving soil fertility. Gay will begin her trip this summer, working on an organic farm in rural Brazil through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program.

“I am so excited about the opportunities the Boren Scholarship is presenting to me,” said Gay, who is in the Honors Program. “The doors have been opened for experiences beyond anything I’ve dreamed-among them, living in Brazil for six months, becoming proficient in Portuguese, and being exposed to a new and advanced perspective on sustainable agriculture.”

This is not Gay’s first research experience abroad as she is laying the groundwork to pursue a career in sustainable agricultural development in Latin America, possibly through the United States Agency for International Development. During spring 2010, she took courses in sustainable agriculture and forestry practices at EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Region Tropical Humeda) University in Costa Rica.

Williams plans to enroll in the Arabic for Non-Native Speakers Program at Qatar University in Doha for one year.

“I am thrilled to have received a Boren Scholarship,” said Williams, who was named a Presidential Scholar for earning a 4.0 grade point average during the fall and spring semesters.

“Being able to study abroad for a year to focus on Arabic is such an honor as an undergraduate, and this experience will give me invaluable knowledge that no textbook can provide.”

Williams transferred to UGA this past fall to major in Arabic. With aspirations to become a dialect analyst, specializing in the Arabian Gulf, she has participated in campus activities ranging from a symposium focused on Christianity and Islam to an Islamic prayer service.

For more information on the NSEP Boren Scholarships, see

For more information on UGA’s Honors Program, see